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Upgrades & Downgrades: Rent Netflix, Don't Buy


Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

Modest gains in equities, up in the final hour on news of a Dubai debt deal, gave the Dow its best November in eight years. See also Dubai World: The Freddie Mac of the Middle East. Strength in financials saw Goldman (GS) gain 3.57%, enabling an employee the opportunity to afford an engagement ring worthy of a former first daughter as wedding plans were appropriately made public on the day The Knot brought Nasdaq trading to a close. (Even on a Sachs salary however, the groom would struggle to afford five gold rings, with bullion gapping up to an all time high above $1,200 in electronic trading this morning).

Patriotism paid for US Steel (X) (+3.74%) and US Bancorp (USB) (+5.14%), each up on upgrades, and executives at Boston Properties (BXP) (+5.00% in a strong REIT tape) now have cash to splash on expensive champagne, if not the $150 bottles on offer at Beantown neighbor Boston Beer (SAM). Staples (SPLS) (see also Staples Is Vulnerable to Corporate Cutbacks) and Shanda Interactive (SNDA) announce earnings and in 10:00 AM Eastern economics, the Institute for Supply Management's November manufacturing index is expected to show a slight slippage.


Check Point Software (CHKP): The stock is begun with a Buy at ThinkEquity Partners.

Clearwire Corp (CLWR): Clearwire is increased to Neutral from Sell at UBS, which takes its price target to $6 from $3 on a capital raise which "largely eliminates funding risk".

Oil & Gas: Stifel Financial starts select oil and gas exploration stocks including Chesapeake Energy (CHK) ($31 target price), Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) ($47), Petrohawk Energy (HK) ($28) with Buys. Range Resources (RRC) and XTO Energy Inc (XTO) are among its Holds.

Websense (WBSN): Lazard assumes coverage of Websense with Buy and a $20 target.

Monsanto (MON): The ag stock is picked up at Sell by Ticonderoga Securities ($68 target), which sees discounting and market share loss in the 2010 North American selling season.

Miscellaneous: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch initiates Teradata and AGA Medical, both Buys

Encana (ECA): Barclays begins EnCana at an Overweight.

Banco Santander (Brasil) (BSBR): Morgan Stanley initiates recent IPO Banco Santander (Brasil) at Overweight.

Boeing (BA): HSBC initiates Boeing with an Underweight and $45 target price as it views 2009 as the cyclical peak in aircraft output.


Limited Brands (LTD): Soleil Securities raises its Limited Brands rating to Buy from Hold on a more favorable valuation. Its price objective is $15.50. For more on retail, see Investors Should Wait for Retail's After-Christmas Sales.

Vistaprint (VPRT): The stock is added to the Focus List of select stocks at Kaufman Brothers, the broker citing a strong customer base among catalysts for 20% long term growth.

Packaging Corp. of America (PKG): PKG is added to the Focus List at Credit Suisse as underappreciated pricing power and margin expansion should prove positive going forward.

Eli Lilly (LLY): Goldman removes Eli Lilly from its Conviction Sell list at Goldman while maintaining its Sell rating.

Cabot Corp. (CBT): KeyBanc Capital gives Cabot Corp a Buy-from-Hold boost based on a sharp turnaround in demand for the company's products.

Sunpower (SPWRA): The solar stock gets upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest. See also Shining a Light on SunPower's Books.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB): Citigroup moves Fifth Third Bancorp and BB&T Corp, both to Buy from Hold.

Mentor Graphics (MENT): JP Morgan upgrades Mentor Graphics (Overweight from Underweight) and takes its target to $10.50 from $9.00.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): The stock is added to Wedbush's Best Ideas List.


Abbott Labs (ABT): The pharmaceutical stock is pulled from the Conviction Buy list at Goldman, though the Buy rating remains intact. See also Health-Care Picks for Contrarians. (PCLN): Kaufman removes from its Focus List due to valuation following November's 36% increase in the shares.

Pinnacle West (PNW): The stock is removed from Top Picks Live list at Citigroup.

Netflix (NFLX): Merriman cuts Netflix to Neutral from Buy with the shares up almost 50% since the start of September.

PetSmart (PETM): The stock is removed from the Best Ideas List at Wedbush. For another opinion, see Why Petsmart Looks Like a Smart Bet.
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